Egyptian army on Sunday killed eight extremists of the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group in two raids, one of whom being reportedly responsible for kidnapping seven soldiers during the rule of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, security sources told Xinhua.
"Security forces have killed Fayez Abou Sheeta, a leader of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, who was responsible for kidnapping seven army soldiers during Morsi's rule as well as killing police officers and soldiers in Arish," the sources said.
The seven soldiers were abducted last May when heading to their military units in the restive Sinai Peninsula. They were released a week later after mediations by Bedouin and tribal leaders.
In another operation in the northern Sinai city of Rafah, security forces killed six group members and while 10 others were arrested.
Members of the blacklisted group gathered at a house in the southern village of al-Wefaq. The military seized automatic weapons, hand grenades, military uniforms and destroyed 18 houses that were used by the militants, according to the sources.
The stepped up security campaign came three days after the group announced that it had decapitated four Sinai residents, claiming that they collaborated with Israel.
The Sinai Peninsula has seen a surge in violence since the army ousted Morsi amid mass protests in July last year. The military- backed government has since been struggling to restore order and rein in militants who were responsible for killing hundreds of soldiers and policemen.